Microsoft renames Edge as an ‘AI Browser’ on mobile – a desperate move to attract users for the unpopular browser?

A person looking at Edge browser on an iPhone
(Image credit: StockSnap / Pixabay)

Microsoft has renamed its Edge browser, adding a reference to artificial intelligence in the name, at least on mobile formats.

As Wccftech reports, Edge for Android and iOS now has a new name: ‘Microsoft Edge: AI Browser’ which is pretty snappy, eh?

Sarcasm mode disengaged, this is a clunky name change, at least in our books, though it’s not a surprising decision – one perhaps made with the intention of trying to attract more users to Edge (we’ll come back to that notion).

The rebrand also reflects an increasing focus on AI with Edge, which has been imbued with more and more artificial intelligence chops since the launch of the Bing chatbot earlier last year.

No changes have been made under the hood alongside the name change, so don’t expect any additional AI functionality in the mobile versions of Edge – this is just a marketing move.

Microsoft has made plenty of AI-related tweaks to Edge in recent times, though, including experimenting with a new AI-generated writing feature – although this is one potential innovation that makes us pretty nervous.

Analysis: Next stop ‘Windows AI’?

While this is just a marketing rebrand for now, it does give us another signal of the importance of AI to Microsoft – if we needed one. We’ve had plenty of these signals about how serious Microsoft is about AI during 2023, as we recently discussed in our in-depth overview of the company’s performance over the past year.

It’s certainly a strong hint that more AI chops are coming to the Edge browser, but that’s hardly a surprise either. This new name, and further artificial intelligence capabilities which are doubtless inbound, are going to be carrots to attempt to recruit new users for Edge in the battle of the best web browsers. Although Google’s dominant Chrome browser will be getting much the same drive forward with AI abilities, naturally.

Microsoft will continue to hammer home the importance of AI, and indeed we’ve been saying for some time now that the next iteration of Windows might not be Windows 12, but rather it could be named after AI in the same way that Edge mobile has just been. (Windows AI might be the actual name of next-gen Windows, or perhaps it could be dubbed Windows Copilot).

Speaking of the AI assistant, in what Microsoft describes as the “first significant change” to the Windows keyboard in almost 30 years, a dedicated Copilot key has just been added alongside the Windows key.

If you needed another clear sign of Microsoft’s AI ambitions for 2024 and further into the future, that pretty much covers it in what the company is already calling the “year of AI-powered Windows PCs.”

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).